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Cost of poor blood pressure control in the UK: 62 000 unnecessary deaths per year


High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. With the information on systolic blood pressure from the recently published meta-analysis of prospective studies, we calculated the reductions in stroke and ischaemic heart disease with control of all hypertensives to a systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg. For adults there would be a reduction of 28–44% in stroke and 20–35% in ischaemic heart disease depending on age. In the UK, this would prevent approximately 21 400 stroke deaths and 41 400 ischaemic heart disease deaths each year. Around half of those who suffer a stroke or ischaemic heart disease survive, there would be a proportionate decrease in these people as well. These amount to approximately 42 800 strokes and 82 800 ischaemic heart diseases saved, making a total of 125 600 events saved a year in the UK. This would result in a reduction in disability and major cost savings both to individuals, their families and the Health Service. The blood pressure levels and control of blood pressure in many countries are similar to those in the UK, so the reductions in stroke and ischaemic heart disease worldwide, if the same control of high blood pressure could be obtained, would be immense.

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We thank Dr Paola Primatesta for providing us with the average blood pressure of hypertensives in the Health Survey for England 1998.

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Correspondence to G A MacGregor.

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He, F., MacGregor, G. Cost of poor blood pressure control in the UK: 62 000 unnecessary deaths per year. J Hum Hypertens 17, 455–457 (2003).

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  • blood pressure control
  • stroke
  • ischaemic heart disease

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